Mahakapi Jataka

Bharhut, c. 100 BC
Indian Museum, Calcutta

In this jataka tale the Buddha, in a previous incarnation as a monkey king, self-sacrificingly offers his own body as a bridge by which his troop can escape from a human king who is attacking them. A short section of the river, across which the monkeys are escaping, is indicated by fish designs. Directly below that, the impressed humans are holding out a blanket to catch him when he falls. At the very bottom (continuous narrative), the now recovered Buddha-to-be preaches to the king.